UAMS Breast Cancer Awareness Program Receives Grant from Avon Foundation

By todd

LITTLE ROCK – The Witness Project, a program of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences (UAMS) to increase awareness of breast cancer in the Delta, has been awarded a $26,000 one-year grant from the Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund.


The Witness Project, sponsored by the UAMS College of Public Health and founded by the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, educates African-American and medically underserved women of the Delta and refers them to low-cost or free mammograms and clinical breast exams in their communities. Mobile mammography units provide screenings for women living in counties with limited access to certified mammography facilities. The program also assists women with transportation and other unmet needs. Educational programs are presented at churches, civic centers, job sites and during community activities.


Counties supported by the grant from Avon are Arkansas, Chicot, Cleveland, Crittenden, Cross, Dallas, Desha, Jefferson, Lee, Lincoln, Mississippi, Monroe, Phillips, Pulaski and St. Francis.


Since January of 2004, The Witness Project has reached more than 1,900 women concerning the importance of early detection of breast cancer and has referred 475 women for mammograms and clinical breast exams. This is the fourth year that the program has received Avon Foundation Breast Care funding.


“Many factors, such as fear, keep women from practicing good breast health,” said Doris Champ, a witness role model for The Witness Project. “There is a tremendous need to reach women with information and resources. We are grateful that the Avon Foundation shares this mission and has chosen to support our program.”


Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer in women in the U.S. and the leading cause of death in women between the ages of 40 and 55.  According to the American Cancer Society, more than 2,000 new cases of breast cancer will be detected in Arkansas this year and as many as 400 lives will be lost. Nationwide, there is a new diagnosis every three minutes and a death from breast cancer every 14 minutes. Advances have been made in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of breast cancer, but early detection still affords the best opportunity for successful treatment. Programs such as The Witness Project ensure that all women have access to information on early detection.


The Avon Foundation Breast Care Fund is administrated by Cicatelli Associates Inc. to support community-based, non-profit breast health programs across the country. The Fund’s national advisory board selected The Witness Project at UAMS as one of 123 grant recipients for 2005. These organizations were chosen based on their ability to effectively reach women, particularly minority, low-income and older women who are often medically underserved. The Avon Foundation has funded more than 800 community-based breast health programs in the U.S. since 1993.


For more information on The Witness Project at UAMS, contact Charlie Stayton at 501-661-9603 or 800-275-1183. For more information about breast cancer, contact the Arkansas Cancer Research Center at 501-686-6000, the American Cancer Society at 800-ACS-2345 (, or the National Cancer Institute at 800-4-CANCER (


The Avon Foundation was founded in 1955 with a mission to improve the lives of women, and in 2005 celebrates half a century of helping women and their families. The Avon Breast Cancer Crusade has raised more than $350 million for breast cancer research and care organizations worldwide.


To learn more about the Avon Foundation, call 1-866-505-AVON or visit, for a printable Breast Health Resource Guide in English and Spanish.  For information on the Avon Walk for Breast Cancer events, visit or call 877-WALK-AVON.


UAMS is the state’s only comprehensive academic health center, with five colleges, a graduate school, a medical center, five centers of excellence and a statewide network of regional centers. UAMS has more than 2,200 students and 660 residents and is the state’s largest public employer with almost 9,000 employees. UAMS and its affiliates have an economic impact in Arkansas of $4.1 billion a year.


UAMS centers of excellence are the Arkansas Cancer Research Center, Harvey and Bernice Jones Eye Institute, Donald W. Reynolds Institute on Aging, Myeloma Institute for Research and Therapy and Jackson T. Stephens Spine and Neurosciences Institute.